Optimize, an Information Week spin-off, combines business strategy with issues faced by CTOs and CIOs. So it takes an industry leader with valuable insight to get the editors' attention.[QQ]]Corporations in the pre-internet days did not give much space at the boardroom table for the chief information officer (CIO). "A while back, the CEO and CFO and chairman of the board were seen as the go-to people,
explains Ted Birkham, group director at Peppercom.
Birkham and his firm were brought in to help promote the launch of a new magazine aimed at the CIO demographic. This was a tricky proposition, coming as it did right in the middle of a technology slump. But by the time Optimize hit the newsstands, it was clear that the CIO's world had changed within organizations. This was due in part to the internet boom, but more because technology in general has become a central feature of companies across industries. Key management decisions can no longer be made without a technology voice.
Information Week and its parent, CMP Media, launched the monthly Optimize and its accompanying website in November. Optimize is designed to target that group of senior technology managers who have found themselves of increasing importance to the companies they work for, but sometimes lack the specific business acumen they need to successfully navigate this heightened role. The magazine was a by-product of executive programs on these challenges that were designed by Information Week, and have been in place for the past two years.
"These executives are really in a transition in their roles in organizations, and they are now required to become business leaders in their companies,
explains Scott Vaughan, publisher of Optimize. "It's not just about technology anymore; it's about understanding and relating business strategy to what they do. We are really focusing on helping IT executives participate in business decisions."
With a circulation of 70,000, the magazine is targeted toward a very specific audience. Seventy percent of those reading Optimize are chief technology officers, chief information officers, or VPs of information services. Thirty percent of the readership is technology-oriented CEOs.
The average IT spend per subscriber is over $40 million, and 100% of those subscribers are totally responsible for their companies' IT spending and strategy.
The magazine includes coverage of six different business disciplines in every issue, drawn from the following subjects: business leadership, financial management, understanding law, global issues, ROI valuation, collaborative strategies, contemporary ethics, optimal marketing, and corporate culture.
In addition, the publication includes a section called Mentors, a first-person article by an industry leader focusing on good mentoring experiences.
The March issue included an account by Cisco's John Bruno talking about how Living on the Fault Line by Geoffrey Moore influenced his thinking.
Other articles in the March issue point clearly to the magazine's editorial direction. Under business leadership, there is an analysis by a former Yahoo! VP on "the big lie about CIOs,
tackling the CIO's role in helping the company evolve and integrate technology with the business. The financial management section features advice on controlling investment overseas; and under business management, the reader finds an essay on business Darwinism, endorsing the unification of business, and IT structures.
The magazine's editorial calendar is available on its website. Upcoming features include a look at measuring intangibles for business value, the partnership between the CFO and CIO, and the benefits of creativity in IT workers.
Optimize has also posted on its website guidelines for both submissions and pitches, though the tips are primarily geared toward helping journalists pitch. But Vaughan says the basic rule of thumb is that a successful pitch to Optimize will often include positioning an industry leader who has advice on solid business strategies to offer the reader. "Not just someone in your company who is really smart,
Vaughan says, "but say you are at Sybase and you have customers doing interesting things - not just from an e-commerce perspective, but in how they apply to business strategy."
General press releases are not targeted enough for this publication.
E-mail and phone pitches are fine, and in fact, the team is extremely interested in hearing new ideas. But just pitching a new product has no relevance to Optimize's readers unless it is presented in context with solid business solutions, with evidence of its successful application.
One of the most popular regular features is Gap Analysis, which is a research-based look at the difference between perception and reality on a number of significant issues. The March edition includes an analysis of data sharing, and how it benefits an organization.